THE RISE OF KUWAIT’S STARTUP ECOSYS­TEM

Arabnet - The Quarterly - - Entrepreneurship -

Kuwait’s oil re­serves, which amount to more than 100B bar­rels, ac­count for more than 60% of GDP and 95% of ex­ports and have shaped the coun­try’s eco­nomic strength. The oil re­serves have en­sured ro­bust public fi­nances and funded the de­vel­op­ment of a sub­stan­tial wel­fare sys­tem.

Pump­ing Fuel in Star­tups

The State is in­vest­ing in a star­tup­fu­eled digital econ­omy to di­ver­sify its econ­omy away from oil, and to cre­ate more pri­vate sec­tor jobs for Kuwaitis, the ma­jor­ity of which are cur­rently em­ployed in the gov­ern­ment sec­tor. In ef­forts to ex­pand the pri­vate sec­tor, a $7B Kuwait Na­tional Fund for SMES was in­tro­duced in 2013 fo­cus­ing on smart cap­i­tal, ed­u­ca­tion, le­gal frame­work, and mind­set.

En­trepreneurs re­quire the proper startup ecosys­tem to nur­ture and thrive. As ap­par­ent in the ecosys­tem map, the re­cent growth of the Kuwait startup ecosys­tem is in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing and has been ex­tremely ev­i­dent in the col­lab­o­ra­tions amongst en­trepreneurs, sup­port or­ga­ni­za­tions, and in­vestors.

This was fur­ther in­spired by the $170 mil­lion ac­qui­si­tion of Kuwait’s Tal­a­bat.com, a deal that was lauded as a land­mark in the re­gion since it was one of the largest re­gional ex­its. Berlin-based Rocket In­ter­net ac­quired the food de­liv­ery ser­vice plat­form with 1,300 restau­rants and ser­vices in the Gulf, in early 2015.

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